NASHVILLE (BP) – John Brady testifies that the 2021 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering theme points to Southern Baptists’ strongest earthly resource – themselves.
“When you look at the Bible and what Jesus did, He sent [the disciples] out two by two,” Brady, vice president for global engagement at the International Mission Board, told Baptist Press editor Brandon Porter in a recent interview. “I think if Southern Baptists believe anything about missions, is that we believe in doing it together.”
“Let’s Advance God’s Kingdom Together” is the theme for this year’s offering by Southern Baptists. As a missionary in China, Moon reflected that theme in being a tireless writer to those back in the U.S. Through numerous letters she encouraged others to form missionary “societies” predicated on working together to promote missions education and giving. The annual offering that bears her name gives 100 percent of the proceeds to international missions.
Those gifts help provide the time needed for missionaries to invest in their communities for the sake of the Gospel, Brady said.
“Southern Baptists are not afraid to invest in, say, a young couple who are going to a very hard place, to give them enough time to learn a difficult language and really follow what God has called them to do,” he said.
“Together, we can share in that [experience]. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering embodies that partnership, of God’s people working together to do what God has placed on our hearts to do.”
That spirit of cooperation is what many people tell him is the driving force for identifying as a Southern Baptist. “It changes them from being a Lone Ranger to being a part of God’s greater community going to the ends of the earth,” Brady said.
This summer, that work included working with refugees. In one case, a family had lost their home in a bombing and had nowhere to stay.
“Our folks – your missionaries – took them in,” he said. “They kept them; they helped them; they got them established. The missionaries found out it was the wife’s birthday and gave her a birthday party. The Gospel, food and fellowship were all shared.”
In another instance, a missionary saw fruit after years of witnessing when an unreached tribe had its first believer. While COVID-19 may have claimed many things, the missionary told Brady, it didn’t keep that individual from accepting Christ as Savior.
“Southern Baptists have [supported] people to be where there is a great need,” Brady said. “They are experiencing and hearing God’s love, and that is a powerful experience, for them to know of God’s love through missionaries and hear it in a clear fashion.”
A missionary’s heart can exist in those who don’t physically serve on a foreign mission field, he pointed out. In visiting Southern Baptist churches in the U.S., Brady has witnessed that spirit of giving.
“We know for a fact that we can’t do it alone. The Lord Jesus goes with us to the ends of the earth, but then He brings others [to join].”